A NYC stroll + 21 things you should do in NYC

Photography by Max Polito

Sweater: Zadig and Voltaire Jeans: 3×1 Coat: Something Navy Sneakers: Converse x Comme Des Garsons Bag: Gucci Socks: J.Crew

Hi Friends! I hope you’re all having a great weekend. I wanted to put together a list of things to do in NYC because I get asked for advice from my followers on this a lot. I put together a list of 21 things I recommend doing. The list is never ending because NYC has so much to offer. I hope you all enjoy!

  1. Top of the Rock: Everyone is Familiar with Rockefeller Center, but did you know that there are a few tours you can take there? The first is tickets to the top of the Rock. The 360 degree views will take your breath away. It’s definitely a must-do.
  2. Another really fun thing to do at Rock Center is to do the NBC Studios tour. I took this tour with Matt, my Mom and Papa a few years ago. It was SO COOL and actually really fun. We decided to do it last minute and really enjoyed it.
  3. The Campbell at Grand Central: Grand Central is of course a must-see when visiting NYC. One of my favorite parts of Grand Central is having a drink at Campbells. John W. Campbell was a very successful financier back in the early 1900’s. He leased an office and reception area out of Grand Central. He felt he needed to be in the heart of NYC but also close to the trains, hence renting a space at Grande Central. So cool, right?! Well they turned his office into a bar, restoring it to it’s glory day.
  4. Get a wine and Cheese plate at Nota Bene in Eataly. We are so lucky to live only 5 blocks from Eataly. Eataly is an Italian Market filled with different restaurants and curated Italian goods. They have fresh organic produce too. It’s a really cool place to visit. My favorite thing to do there is order a fresh cheese plate paired with some Rose at Nota Bene. It’s in the center of the market so you get to people watch and drink. Such a NYC thing to do.
  5. Have brunch at Tavern on the Green: I will never forget having lunch here when I was 13 years old. I felt like a celebrity! This place is such an iconic establishment and a must-visit. They have a beautiful outdoor bar and patio which I love to frequent over the summer months. That said, it’s so fun to visit over the Holidays. It’s decorated and cozy and charming, not to mention the food is delicious!
  6. Pier A: Matt and I actually had our rehearsal dinner at this incredible place. It’s located all the way at the end of the Island of Manhattan next to the ferry to the Statue of Liberty. It was built in 1884 to serve the New York City Department of Docks and Harbor Police. You can read all about the history of it on the website. Today, it’s a huge food hall and bar, and they do private events like weddings etc. on the top floor. I recommend going for an afternoon beer and sharing a large pretzel. My Papa would agree with you ;).
  7. Spend an afternoon in Battery Park City. Battery Park is such a gorgeous area. You can take the ferry to see the Statue of Liberty, or you can walk the outskirts of the park along the Hudson River. I remember when I took my Mom down to this area when she came to visit. She said she didn’t even think we were still in NYC! It’s so gorgeous and fun to visit. Matt and I had our wedding reception at Battery Gardens which is a beautiful restaurant right on the water. We love grabbing a bite there and watching the sun set :).
  8. Order the burger at the Spotted Pig: Best burger I’ve ever had. Not much more to say than that!
  9. Grab a bite at Minetta Tavern: I went on a date with a guy who took me here on our first date. I think I ended up dating him for way longer than I should have because he clearly had incredible taste in restaurants! Minnetta tavern opened in 1937 and was named after the Minetta Brook — which ran southwest from 23rd Street to the Hudson River. The Tavern was frequented by various layabouts and hangers-on including Ernest Hemingway, Ezra Pound, Eugene O’Neill, E. E. Cummings, Dylan Thomas, and Joe Gould, as well as by various writers, poets, and pugilists.
  10. Visit a Speak Easy: There are so many cool Speakeasies. One of my favorites is actually across the street from our apartment called Patent Coffee. During the day it’s a coffee shop. At night, you have to ring the doorbell outside and they let you in a secret door behind the counter. It’s a dark and cool bar! It’s so cool and they have a really great cocktail menu.
  11. Grab a drink at Lillie’s Bar. This bar is one of the coolest places to get a drink in NYC. The entire bar is decorated in crazy vintage finds. There is simply not a single empty space on the wall and the food and atmosphere can’t be beat. There are a few locations. I love going to the midtown location before or after seeing a Broadway show.
  12. Eat at Shake Shack in Madison Square Park. First of all, Madison Square Park is my favorite NYC park. We had our first date there, got engaged there and have lived around the corner from this park since 20012! The Shake Shack in the park is actually the very first Shake Shack ever. It’s so fun to grab a bite and eat outside under the sparkling lights.
  13. Play Ping Pong at Spin. This is such a fun date-night idea. You can sign up to play ping pong and drink and eat at the same time. What a great idea, right!?
  14. Go to K-town for some Karaoke. I do this every birthday. I just love karaoke and some of the best Karaoke bars are in the heart of Korea Town in NYC. MK Kareoke is my favorite spot but you really can’t go wrong.
  15. Go to a NYC Comedy Club: My personal favorite is Comedy Cellar. I love comedy and I especially love live comedy. NYC is known for it’s undiscovered talent and it’s such a fun way to spend a night out. The last few times I have been to a Comedy Club there have been some famous people make surprise appearances! I almost lost my mind when Jim Gaffigan walked on stage! You never know who you will see ;).
  16. Spend an afternoon in Dumbo. There’s so much to do in Dumbo. Matt and I spent a whole day in Brooklyn Bridge Park when Charlee was 10 months old. We walked all around and took her to a public pool and splash pad. Then we went to lunch at the 1 Hotel and sat outside looking at the NYC skyline while she napped. It was a perfect day!
  17. Eat a bagel from Best Bagel and Coffee. Every New Yorker has their favorite bagel place. This is mine. HANDS DOWN the best bagel I’ve ever had. They have hand rolled and kettle boiled bagels and all the bagels are made on the premises. My go-to order is a plain bagel with veggie cream cheese, tomato and onion. DELICIOUS!
  18. Play Mini Golf overlooking the Hudson River: This is such a fun little place along the West Side Highway of NYC. Best part is, it’s only $5 to play!
  19. Go to the Frying Pan for a boozy afternoon. This is one of my favorite places to go during the summer. The Frying Pan is essentially a big boat with a restaurant and bar. When the weather is nice I love to go sit outside and eat and drink with Matt and friends.
  20. See a Broadway Show: This is an obvious one, but so necessary. The theater in NYC is amazing! Did you know that you can go to the box office same day to see if they have any rush seats? They are usually much cheaper! You can also buy tickets same day at the TKTS booth!
  21. Take a lunch cruise on the North River Lobster Company boat: Matt and I discovered this amazing lobster cruise this past summer! We absolutely love taking this little lobster cruise. It only lasts about 1 hour, you can drink wine and order seafood AND bring your baby. It’s a super fun thing to do in the summertime.

There are so many more things I could list out as must-do’s in NYC but I think i’ll start with this list ;).

Thanks for stopping by!


Let’s Jess Up x Meg Cusick Holiday Gift Guide for Toddler boys and girls!


Hi friends! I am so excited because I teamed up with my blogger bestie Meg Cusick of Alexander-Alexandra to share with you two holiday gift guides for toddlers! She put together the toddler boy gift guide with her adorable baby boy Jett in mind and I created the toddler girl guide with Miss Charlee Q in mind! Meg and I met via Instagram and have become such close friends. Our babies were born only two weeks apart so we have gone through motherhood on almost the exact same timeline. She’s such a wonderful friend and Momma! If you don’t follow her, you should! We hope you enjoy these gift guides!

  1. Mini Kitchenette: We bought this for Charlee as her big present from Santa. Not that she knows who Santa is, but I am SO excited to give it to her. They have a big plastic Little Tykes kitchen at her daycare that she loves and I just know she is going to lose her mind when she wakes up to this on Christmas morning!
  2. Toothbrush: We just had Charlee’s first dentist appointment! She is 16 months and has a total of 4 teeth! I wanted to get her her first toothbrush and this one has great reviews. It will be one of her stocking stuffers!
  3. Baby’s first Purse: I may or may not be the MOST excited about this gift. Charlee is absolutely obsessed with my purse and tries to carry it around all the time. I know she will just love this. It also comes with the cutest purse accessories. Too cute!
  4. Bath Pipes Toy: I love these bath pipes! Now that Charlee is older, she enjoys playing in the bath and I know she will love playing with these.
  5. Skip Hop Snack Bee:  This adorable snack case makes snacking fun! It’s a great stocking stuffer. Too cute!
  6. Winter Jacket:  I had to add this winter jacket to the gift guide! I bought this for Charlee back in October on Amazon for $30! It has become our go-to for cold winter days. It’s very warm and as a bonus it’s so chic! I had no expectations since it was inexpensive but have been presently surprised. I ordered her a size 12-18 month for reference and it fits great!
  7. Flash Cards:  Charlee is very verbal and basically tries to repeat anything we say. We have had to be careful hah! We wanted to start introducing flash cards to see if she can learn even more words. These came highly recommended.
  8. Toy Vacuum that works! : If you follow me on Instagram, then you know my child is obsessed with any type of cleaning appliance. Hence the reason behind this gift and the one listed below! This vacuum actually sucks which I think is the absolute coolest thing ever.
  9. Toy Broom and dust pan set: Charlee unfortunately figured out how to unwrap a few of her presents under the tree and got into this one. Good news is, it’s a HIT! She’s obsessed.
  10. American Girl Bitty Baby Doll: This is the cutest! It’s the American Girl Doll baby doll. You can buy individual outfits from American Girl and it’s just a beautiful gift.

1. Little Tykes Cozy Coupe: Jett has loved this truck for months now, and even as he gets older he seems to love it more! He loves to put toys in the trunk, and is just now able to pedal himself around – I think this toy will be loved for a very long time!    https://rstyle.me/n/ddb4qscbrxx.

2. MOLUK mini Bilibos Toy: These may look unsuspecting, but these toys can be stacked and nested, they act as floating ducks, sand shovels, candy bowls, spinning tops, racing cars or scoops for snowballs. (Go watch the video – they look so cool!)  https://rstyle.me/n/ddb36ecbrxx

3. Uniqlo Baby puffer coat: We love this winter coat for Jett – its lightweight and really warm! He never seems uncomfortable in it and it packs up really small into my diaper bag! https://rstyle.me/n/ddb39kcbrxx

4. Toy Train with Letter Blocks: Another one of Jett’s favorites! He can ride on it, play with the letter blocks, push buttons that light up, and so much more! https://rstyle.me/n/ddb267cbrxx

5. Tee Ball Set: Jett has a tennis racquet that is his size, as well as golf clubs. He has really loved trying to tap balls with these “stick” toys, and I know Tee Ball will be really fun for him too! https://rstyle.me/n/ddb33ccbrxx

6. Balance Bike: Jett may be a bit too young for this now – the box states 2-5 years, but I know we are just around the corner from being able to play with these! A great way for him to learn how to balance on a bike! https://rstyle.me/n/ddb3bdcbrxx

7. Aqua Doodle: no mess! I have been on the search for a large play mat that Jett could color on and I think this is the one! https://rstyle.me/n/ddb37wcbrxx

8. Personalized Book:  We had this “Baking Cookies with Mom” book personalized and Jett is obsessed! Such a special gift! http://www.kqzyfj.com/click-8953065-8236968

9. Bumble Bee Fountain Bath toy: This toy you can fill up with water and when you pull it out, it creates a fountain! One of Jett’s favorite bath toys. https://rstyle.me/n/ddb3rfcbrxx

10. Uniqlo toddler PJ’s: We have 4 sets of pajamas from Uniqlo because they are the best! Thin, yet warm, stretchy.. and the top can button to the bottoms so don’t come apart in the night! This Winnie the Poo print PJ is my favorite of the bunch. theyhttps://rstyle.me/n/ddb24ncbrxx

Christmas Traditions 2018


Photography by Shadi Garman

On Me: Pajama Shorts: Gap Pajama Top: Gap Slippers: Amazon Socks: Walmart

On Charlee: Pajamas: Amazon Socks: Amazon

Matt’s Pajamas: Pants: Gap

Happy Holidays everyone! This is my absolute favorite time of year. Growing up, Christmas was seriously like the Olympics. My Mom outdid herself year after year! She made every type of cookie you can imagine, she decorated the entire house and just made the holiday so special. The traditions were my favorite part. We always woke up on Christmas morning and had a delicious breakfast. She made the same Christmas breakfast casserole year after year along with fresh Swedish Cinnamon Roles called bullar. We started the day opening our stockings and then opened our gifts one at a time which lasted all day long. I just love Christmas so much and I’m excited to start introducing Charlee to my favorite family traditions as well as starting some of our own!

A new tradition I wanted to start this year was to gift the family a new set of Christmas Pajamas to wear on Christmas morning. I bought all three of us Pajamas (Matt’s set not pictured but I linked it above)! I found Charlee’s pajamas on Amazon for $9! They are so nice and surprisingly nice quality for the incredible price. What are some of your most favorite family traditions? Make sure to share in the comments :)!

These pictures are so very special to me. The most incredible gift I could ever receive is the gift of love from this little girl. Sending you all an extra measure of comfort joy and love this Holiday.


Let’s Jess Up Holiday Gift Guide- FOR HER!

Hi Friends! Happy Holidays! The season is upon us and Christmas is around the corner. I will be sharing a few gift guides this Holiday season for you all to shop. I hope you enjoy!

  1. Polka Dot Button Down: I have this top and it’s now on sale for under $20 and stocked in all sizes. I wear it all. the. time. and I’m sure you all have noticed!! It’s long enough to wear with leggings which for a tall gal like me is unheard of. If you are on the shorter side it could 100% be a dress. I LOVE it and really want to buy the black but I am not allowed to buy anything until after xmas…HINT HINT to Matt ;)!! This would be a great gift for your lady without breaking the bank!
  2. Slippers: I always love a new set of slippers each year. These are super cute and the leopard pattern is adorable!
  3. Silk Pillow and Eye Mask set: I sleep with an eye mask every night but I didn’t realize they made silk pillows too!! Wishing for this set for sure!
  4. Christmas candle: This candle smells like heaven.
  5. Winter Hat: The cutest winter hat I ever did see, right?!
  6. The Bucket List: I love this coffee table book! Would be a great gift for the wanderlust loving lady in your life!
  7. Socks: This gift is for me and any of the ladies in my life. WE ALL NEED THIS haha!
  8. Golden Goose Sneakers: I love Golden Goose sneakers. If you are looking for a great gift that will impress your lady this year, this is it.
  9. Festive Wine Glasses: I have these wine glasses which were gifted to me at Christmas last year and they are just fabulous. I think they make such a lovely gift.
  10. Jade Roller: The jade roller is all the rage. Surprise your lady with knowing just what she wanted but didn’t tell you this year 😉

Hope you all enjoyed this gift guide! Keep coming back as there are more where this came from!